Midsummer Magic…

Today the Summer Solstice occurs and we in the Northern hemisphere will get our longest day of the year courtesy of the sun reaching its northernmost point in the sky. Stonehenge was awash with 37,000 worshippers at sunrise this morning and all manner of celebrations will take place throughout the world. 

Today also marks Midsummer in Sweden, a festival as important to the Swedes as Christmas is to me and mine. It’s a time of family and food, dancing and drinking and the Swedish contingent at work are pretty much out of contact during this holiday period.

Which brings me to a little Midsummer moment of my own, this week’s visit to Skanor med Falsterbo.

It’s actually my fourth visit to this lovely little part of Sweden. Our European division holds its mid-year sales meeting here, a nod to a time when the company (or part of it anyway) was Swedish and management would leave the conference to travel to their respective holiday homes in the area for Midsummer. In any case, it’s not your run-of-the-mill conference choice – and that’s a good thing.

Skanor med (with) Falsterbo are twin medieval towns situated 28-30kms south of Malmo on the Falsterbo peninsula. It’s a quiet place with a population of less than 7,000 and the area is filled with quaint, wonderfully kept houses and surrounded by pristine beaches and glorious stretches of sea and sky. This year we were blessed with warm mid-20s temperatures and I found a little time to take a stroll to the beach and to soak up a bit of Midsummer magic…

Like a row of quirky sentinels, tiny beach huts line the foreshore. 

Unfortunately the magic of Midsummer was not quite enough to keep Australia from departing the FIFA World Cup…in spite of this, last week still found this little Aussie more than happy with her lot.

A skip in my step

So the great Chicky Adventure is done and my sibling partner in crime has arrived back on the other side of the world (and is working through her jet lag by all accounts).

It was such an amazing two weeks – firstly for the unadulterated ‘just us’ time, secondly for the opportunity for me to introduce her to this amazing city I call home, and thirdly for our shared pilgrimage to Amsterdam, Dad’s childhood home, and the delicacies we enjoyed in memory of our Oma and Opa.

I’ve been meaning to pick up the blogging ‘pencil’ again over the last few days but I have felt so full of everything we did that I haven’t known where to start. The anticipation of Lil Chicky’s first trip here. The pride in the sharing of my new hometown and experiencing its fabulous-ness through her ‘new’ eyes. The privilege of helping her celebrate her 40th birthday. The sheer intensity of spending 2 weeks – 24/7 – together for the first time since…well forever.

All underpinned by a lifetime of sisterly memories, the effortless and uncomplicated recall of funny stories, childhood scrapes and sibling rivalry, and squillions of photos…

…including a few selfies.

DAY 2: Fab Finchley – looking for coffee in the pouring rain. 

DAY 3: Can’t go to London without visiting the Queen. 

DAY 4: Hamers do ‘the henge’ (squeezed between visits to Salisbury and Bath). Technically not a selfie thanks to a kind Aussie chap on the tour, but close enough.

There’s a small selfie gap here while we undertook birthday celebrations (part one – The Mousetrap and dinner in Covent Garden – and two – Pret-a-Portea at The Berkeley)…

DAY 5: Fashionista food at the Berkeley

…Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, Globe Theatre and a visit to Carnaby Street.

DAY 6: Yes, we bought these. Because we had to get out of the rain. And the Irregular Choice shop was just there. Really.

Then we went to Amsterdam…

DAY 9: Arriving at Amsterdam’s Central Station about 2 minutes before torrential rain…

Waiting for our first poffertjes (teeny tiny pancakes served with butter and icing sugar and eaten with a toothpick) of the pigrimage trip in Dam Square.

(More on Amsterdam in a later post).

After 4 days, we returned to London, hired a car and drove first to Silverstone and then to Donington Circuits to tick a few things off Lil Chicky’s motorsport bucket list. Looks like Day 13 was a lucky one…

The Winners’ Podium at Silverstone – cheesy but had to be done.

We decided to take Day 14 easy with a visit to the Museum of London after the ‘wild storm‘ had abated…and when Day 15 dawned bright and blue-skied (if a little chilly), there was just one thing left to do…

DAY 15: It endeth on The Eye – our last sibling selfie of the trip.

Full of our time together and tired from our two weeks of tourist-ing, we said our emotional good-byes at Heathrow last Tuesday. After I’d waved until she’d disappeared behind the security barrier, I made the long trip home to Gidday HQ. It’s still my warm and cosy haven but a little quieter. And yellow banner of the Money Shop, which became our welcoming ‘nearly home’ beacon as we turned into my street each night, has now taken on a new and poignant significance. Another memory, meaningless to anyone else but enough to inspire a skip in my step…

…one that only Lil Chicky will understand.